Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Jo Boaler

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Residence  U.S.
Institution  Stanford University
Role  Educator

Name  Jo Boaler
Nationality  British
Doctoral advisor  Paul Black
Jo Boaler httpslagunitastanfordeduc4xEducationEDUC11
Institutions  Stanford University Youcubed (founder)
Alma mater  King's College London, University of Liverpool
Fields  Mathematics education, Technology
Books  What's Math Got to Do with It?, The Elephant in the Class, Connecting Mathematical Ideas: Mi, Experiencing School Mathematics

Jo boaler on the good and bad of mathematics education

Jo Boaler is a British education author and is Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Boaler is involved in promoting mathematics education reform and equitable mathematics classrooms. She is the co-founder of Youcubed, a Stanford center that provides mathematics education resources to teachers, students and parents. She is the author of eight books, including Mathematical Mindsets (2016), What’s Math Got To Do With It? (2009) and The Elephant in the Classroom (2010), all written for teachers and parents with the goal of improving mathematics education in both the US and UK. Her 1997/2002 book, Experiencing School Mathematics, won the "Outstanding Book of the Year" award for education in Britain.


Jo Boaler httpsedstanfordedusitesdefaultfilesprofil

Jo boaler on mathematics education and the common core state standards

Academic career

Jo Boaler began her career as a secondary mathematics teacher in urban London secondary schools, including Haverstock School, Camden. After her early career in secondary mathematics education, Boaler received a Master's degree in Mathematics Education from King's College London with distinction in 1991. She completed her PhD in mathematics education at the same university and won the award for best PhD in education from the British Educational Research Association in 1997. In 1998, Jo Boaler became an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University in the Graduate School of Education. She gained tenure in 2001 and became a full professor there in 2006. From 2000 to 2004, Boaler served as the president of the International Organization of Women and Mathematics Education. In January 2007, she was awarded the Marie Curie Foundation Chair of Excellence at Sussex University. After three years in this post, in 2010 she returned to Stanford and resumed her position as Professor of Mathematics Education. In 2013, Boaler taught the first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on mathematics education, called “How to Learn Math”. Its purpose was to educate teachers and parents about a new way of teaching math in order to help students overcome their fear of math while improving their academic performance. Over 40,000 teachers and parents participated, with about 25,000 completing the full 2-to-16-hour course. At the end of course, 95% of survey respondents indicated that they would modify their ways of teaching math. Boaler also provides consultation to other Silicon Valley digital educational institutions, such as Novo-ed, Inner Tube Games, and Udacity. In addition, she teaches workshops on teaching for a growth mindset, drawing upon the work of Carol Dweck, author and developer of the theory of growth mindset.


During the early part of Boaler’s career, she conducted longitudinal studies of students learning mathematics through different approaches. Her first three-year study in England was published as "Experiencing School Mathematics: Teaching Styles, Sex, and Setting." The book was later released for an American audience entitled "Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches to Teaching and their Impact on Student Learning" (2002). In 2000, she was awarded a presidential Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation. This funded a four-year study of students learning mathematics through different approaches in three US high schools. Both of these studies found that students who were actively engaged in mathematics learning using problem solving and reasoning about methods achieved at higher levels and enjoyed math more than those who engaged passively by practicing methods that a teacher had demonstrated In addition to focusing on inquiry-based learning (also called enquiry-based learning), Boaler’s work has also focused on gender equity and mathematics. In addition, Boaler’s research has highlighted the problems associated with ability grouping in England and the US. More recently, Boaler has published research showing the links between timed testing and math anxiety. Currently, Boaler is conducting research on mathematics, mistakes, and growth mindset with Stanford University professors Carol Dweck and Greg Walton.


In 2006, mathematician R. James Milgram (Stanford University) accused Boaler of scientific misconduct, which prompted Stanford University to investigate claims challenging the validity of her research. However, Stanford University declined to move forward with the investigation, stating that the allegations "do not have substance”. Milgram, fellow mathematician Wayne Bishop (California State University) and statistician Paul Clopton posted a 44-page online paper outlining their complaints about one particular study. The story was circulated widely on social media and picked up by the national press. Boaler issued a response in 2012. Her statements were also addressed by Bishop and Milgram.

Awards and honors

1997 Best PhD in Education, 1997, British Educational Research Association, United Kingdom 1998 Elected Fellow Royal Society of Arts Royal Society of Arts 1998 Outstanding Book of the Year Award in Education, Standing Conference for Studies in Education. 2000–2005 Presidential Early Career Award, National Science Foundation 2000 – 2004 President: International Organisation of Women and Mathematics Education (IOWME) 2004 Fellow: Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 2007 Chair of Excellence: The Marie Curie Foundation 2010 Invited Lecture The Royal Society 2014 NCSM Equity Award 2016 California Math Council Leadership Award



  • Boaler, J. (2016). Mathematical Mindsets. Unleashing Students' Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages & Innovative Teaching. Wiley: San Francisco.
  • Boaler, J. (2015). The Elephant in the Classroom. Helping Children Learn & Love Maths. (2nd ed.) Souvenir Press: London.
  • Boaler, J (2015). What’s Math Got To Do With It? How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject. (2nd ed.) Penguin: New York.
  • Boaler, J. (2013) Ability and Mathematics: the mindset revolution that is reshaping education. Forum, Volume 55, Number 1, 2013.
  • Boaler, J. (2010). The Elephant in the Classroom. Helping Children Learn & Love Maths. Souvenir Press: London.
  • Boaler, J (2009). What’s Math Got To Do With It? How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject. Penguin: New York.
  • Boaler, J & Humphreys, C (2005) Connecting Mathematical Ideas: Middle School Cases of Teaching & Learning. Heinemann: Portsmouth.
  • Boaler, J (2002) Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches to Teaching and their Impact on Student Learning. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, New Jersey.
  • Boaler, J. (ed) (2000) Multiple Perspectives on Mathematics Teaching & Learning. Ablex Publishing: Westport, CT.
  • Boaler, J. (1997) Experiencing School Mathematics: Teaching Styles, Sex and Setting. Open University Press: Buckingham, England.
  • Journal articles:

  • Boaler, J (2013). "Ability and Mathematics: the mindset revolution that is reshaping education". Forum. 55. 
  • Boaler, J. (2012) Timed Tests and the Development of Math Anxiety. Education Week, July 3.retrieved from October 23, 2013.
  • Boaler, J (2011). "Changing Students' Lives Through the De-tracking of Urban Mathematics Classrooms". Journal of Urban Mathematics Education. 4 (1). 
  • Boaler, J., Altendorff, L., & Kent, G. (2011) Mathematics and Science Inequalities in the United Kingdom: When Elitism, Sexism and Culture Collide. The Oxford Review of Education. In press.
  • Boaler, J (2008). "When Politics Took the Place of Inquiry: A Response to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel's Review of Instructional Practices". Educational Researcher. 37 (9): 588–594. doi:10.3102/0013189x08327998. 
  • Boaler, J (2008). "Promoting 'Relational Equity' and High Mathematics Achievement Through an Innovative Mixed Ability Approach". British Educational Research Journal. 34 (2): 167–194. doi:10.1080/01411920701532145. 
  • Boaler, J; Staples, M (2008). "Creating Mathematical Futures through an Equitable Teaching Approach: The Case of Railside School". Teachers' College Record. 110 (3): 608–645. 
  • Boaler, J (2006). "Opening Their Ideas: How a de-tracked math approach promoted respect, responsibility and high achievement". Theory into Practice. 45 (1): 40–46. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4501_6. 
  • Boaler, J (2006). "Urban Success. A Multidimensional mathematics approach with equitable outcomes". Phi Delta Kappan. 87: 5. 
  • Boaler (2005). "The 'Psychological Prison' from which they never escaped: The role of ability grouping in reproducing social class inequalities". FORUM. 47 (2&3): 135–144. 
  • Boaler, J (2003). "When Learning no Longer Matters – standardized testing and the creation of inequality". Phi Delta Kappan. 84 (7): 502–506. doi:10.1177/003172170308400706. 
  • Boaler, J (2002). "Exploring the Nature of Mathematical Activity: Using theory, research and 'working hypotheses' to broaden conceptions of mathematics knowing. Invited Paper". Educational Studies in Mathematics. 51 (1–2): 3–21. doi:10.1023/a:1022468022549. 
  • Boaler, J (2002). "Learning from Teaching: Exploring the Relationship Between Reform Curriculum and Equity". Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 33 (4): 239–258. doi:10.2307/749740. 
  • Boaler, J. (2002). Paying the Price for "Sugar and Spice": Shifting the Analytical Lens in Equity Research. Mathematical Thinking and Learning 4(2&3), 127–144.
  • Boaler, J (2002). "The Development of Disciplinary Relationships: Knowledge, Practice and Identity in Mathematics Classrooms". For the Learning of Mathematics. 22 (1): 42–47. 
  • Boaler, J (2002). "Mathematical Modeling and New Theories of Learning". Teaching Mathematics and its Applications. 20 (3): 121–127. doi:10.1093/teamat/20.3.121. 
  • Boaler, J.; Wiliam, D.; Brown, M. (2000). "Students' experiences of ability grouping – disaffection, polarization and the construction of failure". British Educational Research Journal. 26 (5): 631–648. doi:10.1080/713651583. 
  • Boaler, J (2000). "Exploring Situated Insights into Research and Learning". Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 39 (1): 113–119. 
  • Boaler, J (2000). "Mathematics from another World: Traditional Communities and the Alienation of Learners". Journal of Mathematical Behavior. 18 (4): 1–19. 
  • Boaler, J (1999). "Participation, Knowledge and Beliefs: A Community Perspective on Mathematics Learning". Educational Studies in Mathematics. 40: 259–281. doi:10.1023/a:1003880012282. 
  • Boaler, J (1998). "Open and Closed Mathematics Approaches: Student Experiences and Understandings". Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 29 (1): 41–62. doi:10.2307/749717. 
  • Boaler, J (1998). "Mathematical Equity: Under Achieving Boys or Sacrificial Girls?". Journal of Inclusive Education. 2: 2. 
  • Boaler, J (1998). "Alternative Approaches to Teaching, Learning and Assessing Mathematics". Evaluation and Program Planning. 21: 129–141. doi:10.1016/s0149-7189(98)00002-0. 
  • Boaler, J (1997). "Equity, Empowerment and Different Ways of Knowing". Mathematics Education Research Journal. 9 (3): 325–342. doi:10.1007/bf03217322. 
  • Boaler, J (1997). "Setting, Social Class and Survival of the Quickest". British Educational Research Journal. 23 (5): 575–595. doi:10.1080/0141192970230503. 
  • Boaler, J (1997). "Reclaiming School Mathematics: The Girls Fight Back". Gender and Education. 9 (3): 285–306. doi:10.1080/09540259721268. 
  • Boaler, J (1997). "When Even the Winners are Losers: Evaluating the Experience of 'top set' students". Journal of Curriculum Studies. 29 (2): 165–182. doi:10.1080/002202797184116. 
  • Boaler, J. (1996) Learning to Lose in the Mathematics Classroom: a critique of traditional schooling practices. Qualitative Studies in Education, 9 (1) 17–34.
  • Boaler, J (1994). "When do girls prefer football to fashion? An analysis of female under achievement in relation to realistic mathematics contexts". British Educational Research Journal. 20 (5): 551–564. doi:10.1080/0141192940200504. 
  • Boaler, J (1993). "Encouraging the Transfer of 'School' Mathematics to the 'Real World' through the Integration of Process and Content, Context and Culture". Educational Studies in Mathematics. 25: 341–373. doi:10.1007/bf01273906. 
  • Boaler, J (1993). "The Role of Contexts in the Mathematics Classroom: do they make mathematics more real?". For the learning of Mathematics. 13 (2): 12–17. 
  • References

    Jo Boaler Wikipedia